Our own Armijo Royal Role Models

Working+hard+through+distance+learning+and+being+role+models+to+students%2C+these+teachers+have+been+nominated+for+Teacher+of+the+Year.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Working hard through distance learning and being role models to students, these teachers have been nominated for Teacher of the Year.

Every year, teachers nominate their coworkers who have impressed them with their dedication to their profession. Those who earn these coveted nominations are clearly role models in the school community and, while it is the teachers who are making the choices, the recipients of this honor are also role models to the students.
This year, six teachers received nominations and all of them are worthy. The names of those who nominated them are private, but these six teachers were nominated for the following reasons:

Ms. Ann Budak, English Department Chair “is a huge asset to Armijo staff and students. She is a leader, taking on numerous additional responsibilities, including: Professional Development Team, English Department Chair, and CAS Coordinator for IB. During a regular year you will see her at many extracurricular events supporting and connecting with students and staff, making connections with them outside of the classroom. That connection and the well being of all of Armijo students is a priority to  her, any example is her commitment to Week of Welcome. Ann is the colleague who is quick to respond to our AHS all emails with assistance, always positive, always ready to problem solve. I only wish I could provide a more complete list of the many roles Ann has held over the years…I have left out many for sure.”

Mr. D.J. Bowen, Business Math and Statistics teacher has many admirers. One teacher said that he is an “integral part of the negotiation team. [He] keeps his peers up to date with news of contract and negotiation updates.” Another shared that he is “very committed to helping staff and especially his students.” Yet another teacher identified Mr. Bowen as “invaluable for contract negotiations.[He] keeps the faculty up to date with negotiations and contract language… [and] is the middle man in communications from the D.O. to Armijo. “DJ is dedicated to the craft of teaching. He works tirelessly to make an engaging math curriculum, has a great rapport with students and devotes so much time and energy into coaching and being a union site rep,” said one teacher.

Mr. Joe Arbizu, Math teacher, earned his nomination based on the views of many teachers as well. “Joe has continued to promote and facilitate collaboration among his department despite the lack of an official collaboration schedule. I know that his department has continued to feel connected and supported under his leadership. In addition to this, Joe has embraced distance learning and growth in new technologies and apps by putting out weekly videos for staff that showcase a new online learning tool and how he would apply it to various subject matters. He has continued to have a positive attitude during distance learning which spills into his students and colleagues in these trying times.” Another of his colleagues said, “He is a math teacher and also the math department head. He always brings passion and energy to his teaching and all interactions with his colleagues. He is always willing to help any student, teacher, or other staff member at a moment’s notice and always puts others before himself.” For one teacher, the praise went beyond the classroom and recognized Mr. Arbizu’s spirit. “He is one of the most humble people I know, but he cares so much about his students and their success. Always willing to help others and such a saint!”

Ms. Kimberly McGuire, Counselor, also received a nomination. “I nominate our amazing counselor Kim McGuire! Kim has been a school counselor for 22 years and has worked in FSUSD for 14 of those years. During this time, Kim has guided hundreds of students (thousands, really) through the high school graduation process. She actively advocates for students and families and their various needs, provides social and emotional support to our struggling students, and holds students accountable for their choices, while providing them with the tools they need to take initiative and learn from their mistakes/challenges. She listens to her students and empowers them to focus on making positive changes. Kim’s door is always open, for both students and staff. She offers excellent guidance when dealing with challenging students and situations. On many occasions, I have popped into her office for advice, validation, or just a listening ear. Her compassion and positive energy are vital to the counseling department. We are very lucky to have such a competent, empathetic, and collaborative colleague!”

Not all nominations were effusive. Ms. Nicole Shabazz, Math teacher, was recognized because, as the nominator shared, “She deserves it!”

Finally, Ms. Vanessa Walling-Sisi, English teacher, was identified for her complete dedication to the Armijo family. “Vanessa is kind, helpful and has a great sense of humor. She is very supportive of her colleagues whether it be an ear, to problem solve or collaborate. Vanessa heads the International Club and GSA- which is evidence that she is an avid proponent of inclusivity. She speaks up and speaks out even when it is uncomfortable to hear things that we need to with a compassionate heart. I respect and admire her greatly.”

While all of these individuals are worthy of the honor, it could only go to one, and that is Mr. Joe Arbizu, who will represent Armijo and be considered for the Teacher of the Year for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District.

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